Montana Rail Link Line Reopens After Derailment – Cleanup Underway [AUDIO]
UPDATE - 1:00 p.m. Friday, September 6
Public Information Officer for Montana Rail Link Linda Frost said on Friday, September 6, that the tracks closed by Wednesday morning's derailment were reopened late Friday morning.
"Crews worked long and hard through Thursday night and finally got the tracks opened at about 10:30 this morning," Frost said. "We have a number of trains that are scheduled to pass through that area in the next 24 hours.
Frost said the investigation into Wednesday's derailment is ongoing.
"Right now, we're concentrating on getting this cleaned up and keeping our operations running smoothly and safely, as we always do. The effort to bring the cars and tankers that slid down a steep embankment and into the river will begin on Monday," Frost said.
Twenty-four cars derailed off a Montana Rail Link train near Superior on Wednesday, September 4 at about 4:30 a.m. Four of the cars tumbled down a steep bank and came partly to rest in the Clark Fork River, but were empty.
Montana Rail Link Public Information Officer Lynda Frost said on Wednesday afternoon, that the train was eastbound about four miles east of Superior when the derailment occurred.
"First, there were no injuries, and we are determining the cause of the derailment at this time," Frost said. "Of the 24 cars that derailed, four did go down the bank and are partially in the river. They were all empty. Two of them were empty tank cars, and the other two cars had previously shipped sugar."
Frost said the clean-up of the scene is already underway.
"We just received the arrival of heavy equipment that is going to assist us in removing those cars," Frost said. "The site, unfortunately, is in a very remote area that has a steep embankment below as well as above, so the cleanup is going to be a bit challenging. We'll have to pull the cars down back from the site to an area which is a little wider where we can stage them. The derailment site itself does not allow that to happen, so we'll use cranes or whatever kind of heavy equipment that is necessary to help us do that."
Frost said the train was 66 cars long, and the derailment occurred not far back from the locomotives.
"The cars that derailed were the fourth through the 28th cars, so it was just slightly behind the locomotives, so the engineers were not injured," Frost said. "We don't expect to have traffic running on that track again until tomorrow evening."
The cause of the derailment is under investigation.
Montana Rail Link Public Information Officer Lynda Frost